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Chamber CEO: Microsoft layoffs not too worrisome

Reporting news about layoffs is never pleasant.

Now here's some good news in response to the recent Microsoft layoff announcement.

Chris Hoffman, chief executive officer and president of the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce, said she's not terribly worried about the Microsoft cutbacks or their impact on other Redmond businesses.

"Microsoft is brilliant in the way they deal with these things," said Hoffman. "As they shut down or minimize departments, they grow others. ... If Boeing shuts down a whole division, it really makes a splash. Microsoft already knows what they're going to replace it with."

Severe weather issues, like the snow and wind storms we've had in recent years, are far more devastating to the local business community, she noted.

"We're going to be okay," said Hoffman. "What we're telling incubator businesses is that they need to diversify. If they've relied on Microsoft alone, they need to branch out to the general populace. We need to get as many people out in the community telling others what sets them apart from the competition. It's never good to have a one-song repertoire."

Hoffman praised Ben Franklin Crafts and Frame Shop, which was profiled in a Redmond Reporter business story on Oct. 18, 2008, as a shining example of a local business that has risen above many economic challenges by introducing special activities to draw in new customers.

"Now is the time to really get out and promote your business," she stated.

She said the chamber is seeing an uptick in SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executive) counseling applications with many people who've lost jobs starting their own businesses.

The chamber also offers several business networking opportunities each month, promotes members when residents and visitors are looking for a particular product or service and lobbies on matters of interest to regional businesses.

The office of the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce is located at 16210 NE 80th St. For information, call (425) 885-4014 or visit www.redmondchamber.org.

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